to pray with others,
to enjoy the company of other believers,
to receive bread and wine in a commemoration of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
and to be challenged towards a deeper faithfulness and obedience to God - and to deeper concern (and action) for the sad, sorrowful and unjust world which God loves so much.
I do not "go to Church" to be amused by sermons, or to be entertained with music.
I am frequently disappointed.
I hope that I worship.
I know that I pray.
I am glad to be with other believers, and to eat the bread and drink the wine which is filled with Christ.
But oh those sermons, how feeble they are, how utterly inconsequential, how devoid of challenge to obedient discipleship.
Such was the case at my local Episcopal parish today.
We had a guest preacher.
His sermon sheer pabulum as he tried and failed (as well he might) to connect the civic holiday called Mother's Day, with the Gospel passage which was about Jesus the good and unpredictable Shepherd.
I was never sure if he was talking about Jesus Christ, or about an idealized "Hallmark moment" mother.
It was truly dreadful.
I was not amused.
It is my opinion that this baby-food preaching is almost the norm in the Episcopal Church, and that it plays its part in our denominational decline.